226 BYZANTINE CHURCHES CHAP.
after relic under the ample folds of their robes until there was no room for more. Thus laden, the pious thieves made as fast as they could for the ship in which they had come to Constantinople, not stopping to converse with friends on the way, and giving to all curious inquiries the brief and enigmatical reply, cWe have done well.5 Upon reaching the ship Martin found himself the happy possessor of no less than sixty-two relics, including a piece of the Holy Cross, and drops of c the blood shed for man's redemption/ Martin wished to start immediately for Alsace, but circumstances obliged him to remain in Constantinople for several months, Thanks, however, to the priest of the Pantokrator, whom the abbot had treated generously, Martin secured a small chapel where to conceal his spoils until an opportunity to return home should occur. A fellow-countryman, indeed, the only other person let into the secret, advised him to secure by means of the relics an abbotship, if not a bishopric, in the Holy Land, But Martin was above personal ambition,, and notwithstanding all the difficulties involved in the attempt to carry the relics to the West, waited patiently till he could smuggle them out of the city. At length his chance came ; whereupon he embarked for Venice, and after a hard and tedious journey of eight months reached home safely. Again and again on the way he had narrowly escaped the loss of his treasures at the hands of pirates • on the sea and of brigands upon land. But all toils and dangers were forgotten when, on the 24th of June 1205, at the head of the brotherhood of which he was the chief, Martin placed the relics purloined from the Pantokrator of Constantinople upon the high altar of the church of Parisis with a conqueror's pride and joy, while the people shouted, f Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things.' There is archaeology even in morals.
But while called thus to deplore the removal of many of its valued relics, the Pantokrator came during the Latin period into possession of a sacred object which compensated the house abundantly for all losses of that kind. The church became the shrine of the eikon of the Theotokos